Alliance for Excellent Education Study Shows High Cost of Low Graduation Rate in New Rochelle

Written By: Robert Cox

CDF07360-25C6-44D4-B94A-573C92AB4A04.jpgIf high school dropout rates were reduced by half, graduates in the United States would likely have bought homes worth $10.5 billion more than what they would likely spend without a diploma; supported 30,000 additional jobs and increased the gross regional product in these areas by a total of up to $5.3 billion by the time these new graduates reach the midpoint of their careers, according to a study release today by the Alliance for Excellent Education

The Economic Benefits From Halving The Dropout Rate: A Boom To Businesses In The Nation’s Largest Metropolitan Areas

Few people realize the impact that high school dropouts have on a community’s economic, social, and civic health. Business owners and residents—in particular, those without school-aged children—may not be aware that they have much at stake in the success of their local high schools. Indeed, everyone—from car dealers and realtors to bank managers and local business owners—benefits when more students graduate from high school.

According to data provided to New York State under the No Child Left Behind Act only 65% of the Latino students in New Rochelle graduate from high school on time. About 30% of the Black/African-American students fail to graduate on time. Despite the dire economic consequences for New Rochelle, the school district has not implemented any programs designed to specific address the high drop out rate among minority students in New Rochelle.

National Report: “In the nation’s fifty largest cities and the forty-five metropolitan areas that surround them, an estimated 600,000 students dropped out from the Class of 2008 at great cost not only to themselves but also to their communities. Reducing the number of dropouts by 50 percent for this single high school class would result in tremendous economic benefits to these regions. Below, see the combined likely contributions that these 300,000 ‘new graduates’ would make to their local economies”

Former school board member Martin Sanchez, in an address the school board last month, claimed that the actual graduation rate for Latino students in New Rochelle is closer to 50%.

Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak disputed the claim by noting that because the total number of Latino students at New Rochelle High School has increased over the years the actual number of Latino students graduating from the high school has increased even if the percentage of Latinos graduating has been decreasing. Of course, that also means the actual number of Latinos not graduating has also been increasing, a point lost on the simple-minded Superintendent.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University classify high schools where no more than 60% of the students who start as freshmen make it to their senior year as a “Dropout Factory“. Based on the data claimed by Sanchez, New Rochelle High School is a dropout factory, at least for Latino students.

One thought on “Alliance for Excellent Education Study Shows High Cost of Low Graduation Rate in New Rochelle”

  1. La High
    Throughout my tenure on the Board of Education, I often asked many questions regarding on time graduation for Latino and African-American students in New Rochelle High School. While I realized improvements often occur slowly, I believe the opportunities exist when there is transparent and visible efforts being made to address these issues. What impressed me the most while I was on the Board of Education is that when questions were asked about graduation rates for Latino and African-American students, there were usually few answers or answers that did not conform to the question being asked. In the end, there was frustration on my part, because no one seem to know or could provide metrics of past success, future success or if they provided any, they were often insulting numbers like there was an increase of 50% in the Honors classes (When in a class of 26, they went from one Latino student to two over a couple for years). Progress? Yes, but pretty slowly. In reviewing efforts in other communities similarly situated with Latino and African American students, I have found that there is significant success where there is collaboration with parents and teachers. In our HS, because of the caustic management and labor relationship that always does not include the families of students or the community in general, one cannot envision creativity, ingenuity, or any sense of thinking outside the box to address the poor graduation rate for the diverse community. While executive leaders, including our civic leaders, espouse the glory of diversity in this community, they don’t even realize the “reservation” type school that is slowly being created in our high school. Take a walk someday through the hall ways, cafeterias and classrooms and you will see everything but diversity. While we create new opportunities for our younger students in language classes, it seems to me that we have given up on our older students. Yes, there are state mandates that allow for graduation in August or in five years. Is this what we have resigned ourselves to do? If graduating in 6 years is OK, will we implement them as well? Did you know that our June graduation at the high school is not certified! Do you know what this means? Consider if you will that 50 or 75 or even 100 students who have not met their graduation requirements and have promised to attend summer school (maybe) are allowed to graduate? Is this fair to the students who worked hard to graduate on time?

    Martin Sanchez

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